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Hundreds of Women and Children Taken from Polygamist Sect by Authorities; Mark Penn Steps Down as Head Strategist for Clinton Campaign; Memories of Charlton Heston

Aired April 6, 2008 - 18:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were just like us. They just lived a different life and grew up a different way.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A Texas community breathes a sigh of relief after busloads of children and women are taken from a polygamist compound. Tonight, where those children have been taken and the investigation into alleged physical and sexual abuse.

Plus, college parties are the norm, but this one goes way over the top. We'll tell you what the cops had to do to get this campus back in order.

Plus this...


CHARLTON HESTON, ACTOR: The lord of hosts will do battle for us!


LEMON: Well, you may know him as Moses. Even as Ben-Hur, but he was also an actor with a cause, heading up the NRA and fighting for civil rights. Coming up CNN's Larry King and Mickey Rooney will join me live to remember Charlton Heston. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We have been following a dramatic story out of Eldorado, Texas, for days now. And that story is still developing tonight. More than 200 women and children have now been seized and bused away from a ranch that's home to polygamist sect.

Authorities have conducted several raids after getting a report that a 16-year-old girl had been sexually and physically abused. Have they found her yet? CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Eldorado, Texas, with the very latest for us -- Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. Well, authorities say they are continuing to try to figure out who this 16-year-old girl is that is the basis of the complaint that brought authorities here to this polygamist sect compound in Eldorado, Texas. They say they have still not been able to pinpoint who she is. She might already be in their custody or she still might be inside the compound. Authorities are still on the compound, trying to search it, looking for -- the goal is to remove every child from that compound. They say they are still not confident that every child has been removed.

Some tense moments here last night as authorities went inside the temple on the compound grounds. They were met with some light resistance, peaceful resistance that was described to us by one law enforcement source here in West Texas. They say they were able to make contact.

But, of course, this is a 1,600-acre ranch. As they have searched all the residential buildings and the other structures that are on this compound, there are still other parts of this ranch that have not been searched and they say that that search could take at least a week to do. So, they continue to work that.

In the meantime all of these 219 people now that have been removed from the compound were taken about 40 miles north of Eldorado, the town of San Angelo. That's where they will be staying for the next few days as investigators from across the state, dozens of them, have come in and have been doing one-on-one interviews for the last few days.


MARLEIGH MEISNER, TEXAS CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES: We are hoping to be able to begin immediately assessing their therapeutic needs, their medical needs, and we want to make absolutely certain that those needs are met and we think the best place to do that is in San Angelo, Texas.


LAVANDERA: And, Don, you know, one of the interesting things we had the chance to do this morning is speak with several volunteers here in the town of Eldorado that have been working one-on-one with some of these family members. Many people donating food, clothing, toys for these children to play with. And they describe people who have spent a lot of time huddled up together, very much overwhelmed by the situation that they are in.

In fact, one of the officials from Child Protective Services, we asked if part of the problem in trying to identify the 16-year-old girl is whether or not some of these children are just terrified from speaking. And they say that is indeed the case at this point.

LEMON: And I want to ask you about that 16-year-old girl, Ed. Is she among the children that they have taken off this compound? Do they know that yet?

LAVANDERA: They don't know that, which is one of the incredible things about this story at this point, they came in here Thursday night, they pulled out 219 people, 157 of them are children. They say it's a very complex, complicated situation. They're not exactly sure if all the names that they're getting are correct. There are, you know, many teenage girls. They are just having a hard time nailing down who is who. And, of course, you mix that with the combination that many of these girls are just terrified about speaking out because at the basis of all of this is an allegation of abuse.

And this is a community and members of this community that many people have said the women and especially the young females in this organization live in fear.

LEMON: CNN's Ed Lavandera in Eldorado, Texas. Thank you very much for that, Ed.

Let's turn now to an off-campus party that got out of control last night near Michigan State University, and it forced police to tear gas the crowd.





LEMON: Police say 4,000 people showed up at the so-called "Cedar Party" in the Cedar Village section of East Lansing, 52 people were arrested. Police say they used tear gas. They had to do it as a last resort.


CHIEF TOM WIBERT, EAST LANSING, MICH., POLICE: At about 1:30 in the morning the crowd became extremely agitated, there were bottles and rocks and bricks being thrown at police officers and also at other members of the crowd. The street sign at the intersection of Waters Edge and Cedar Street were pulled out of the ground.


LEMON: Nearly every officer -- every one those officers reported being hit by a flying object and police say most of the troublemakers were not Michigan State students. They were not Michigan State students. And the worst injuries were cuts and bruises. They say more charges could be coming after a review of the police videotape.

And check out these pictures. A small plane crash lands in someone's front yard. It happened just a couple of hours ago in Louisville, Kentucky. Can you believe that? It didn't even hit the house. The pilot was just a few hundred yards from an airfield when his Cessna went down. Authorities had to put out a small fire on the plane but were able to pull the pilot out and take him to hospital. No one on the ground was hurt and no word of the pilot's condition, authorities don't know yet what went wrong in there.

We've got breaking news we want to tell you about and it concerns the weather. We're going to get over to the CNN Severe Weather Center and Bonnie Schneider.

I understand you have a tornado warning, Bonnie.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. We do, Don. And it's in central Broward County just near the Palm Beach County border, near Highway 27. Now this is a Doppler radar-indicated tornado, meaning a tornado hasn't been spotted but according to Doppler radar we actually did see that bow echo.

This is actually more of a rural area of Broward County. But it's important to note, I've been watching these severe thunderstorms over South Florida pretty much throughout the day and into the afternoon. You can see some of this heavy weather is heading towards the Coral Springs area and then once you cross over the county border towards Boca Raton.

And as you can see, the thunderstorms have been really teeming across much of Palm Beach County and Broward, and also towards Miami- Dade, though most of it seems to be further to the north.

A lot of this is moisture that has been enhanced with areas across the Gulf of Mexico. You're looking at live pictures from WPLG of Miami, Florida, where the sky has some broken clouds but if you were to go further to the north, you unfortunately would have much more bad weather, like, if you were to drive further north on I-95.

We'll be watching this very closely. Once again, a tornado warning is in effect for central Broward County near the Palm Beach County Border. That's until 6:15 tonight. We're going to have more on the weather coming up.

LEMON: All right. Bonnie, thank you very much. And, Bonnie, I'm sure you're a fan of this next man's acting, you saw him, I'm sure, as Moses, right? Ben-Hur. Hollywood has known few actors like Charlton Heston. Today, the world is remembering the man who came to know onscreen -- they know onscreen as one of the best in the business. And off-screen, he was a passionate activist.

No official word yet on the cause of death here, but four years ago we learned the actor was facing a hopeless battle against Alzheimer's. And CNN's Brooke Anderson takes a look back at Heston's grand career.


HESTON: The lord of hosts will do battle!

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Most people knew Charlton Heston as the actor who played God's right- hand man.

HESTON: Behold his mighty hands!

ANDERSON: The man who would play larger-than-life characters on the big screen says his love of acting grew out of his lonely childhood. Known for his strong screen presence and his chiseled good looks, Heston was a natural as the handsome hero. In 1959, that distinction and the movie "Ben-Hur" won him the Oscar.

HESTON: Who are you?

ANDERSON: A rarity in Hollywood, his film career endured more than half a century. From Technicolor epics to science fiction, that granite-carved profile intimidated opponents with a glare or few choice words.

HESTON: Take your stinking paws off of me your damn dirty ape!

ANDERSON: His talent commanded respect and conveyed integrity on the big screen and the small one. It allowed him to hone his craft.

HESTON: Oh, my God.

ANDERSON: Heston boasted he'd acted on every continent except Antarctica. He was the longest-serving president of the Screen Actors Guild. Later he diverted much of his attention to conservative politics and fought the forces of gun control.

After four people were killed in a school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Heston took command of the declining National Rifle Association and turned it around with what became a polarizing phrase.

HESTON: From my cold dead hand!

ANDERSON: Tom Selleck called Heston a friend and mentor. The two appeared in the 1976 war drama, "Midway."

TOM SELLECK, ACTOR: You know, when Chuck started heading up the NRA, it put a face to an organization that whether people disagree with it or agree with it, had been effectively demonized for quite a few years.

HESTON: Let me make one more point that I forgot.

ANDERSON: Heston was used to taking a stand. In the '60s, he disagreed with segregation, supported Dr. Martin Luther King and campaigned for civil rights. In 2002, the man who had lived his whole life in front of the public told America about his private battle. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

HESTON: I'm neither giving up nor giving in. I believe I'm still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew. But it's a fight I must some day call a draw.

ANDERSON: Friends say Heston and his wife Lydia, whom he'd married when their careers were just beginning, planned to confront the disease together.

TONY MAKRIS, HESTON FAMILY FRIEND: They've dealt with a lot. And they'll deal with this, as they've done the other things, holding hands, very much in love, with their heads held high.

ANDERSON: In 2003, Heston was given the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Charlton Heston himself has become one of the great names in film history. Charlton Heston has left his mark on our country as an artist, as a citizen, and as a patriot.

ANDERSON: Actor or activist, Heston loved the power he had with the crowd.

HESTON: Thank you for everything, not only now, tonight, but on -- through all the years. It has been a wonderful run. I'm going to miss you.



LEMON: Eight-four years old. We'll talk to Charlton Heston's good friend Mickey Rooney live in the CNN NEWSROOM. That will happen in about 20 minutes. Also our very own Larry King will join us with his favorite memories.

Plus, we'll have this for you, turmoil overseas. The running of the torch hits rage on the streets. Fiery protests in London as demonstrators try to put out the flame.


LEMON: Wow. Take a look at that. My gosh, Bonnie Schneider, those are clouds over Miami and there is some rough weather rolling through right now. We're going to check in with Bonnie.

And, Bonnie, there was a tornado warning still happening?

SCHNEIDER: That just expired about three minutes ago, Don. So this thunderstorm complex has weakened a bit but we still have a severe thunderstorm warning in effect that goes all the way from central Broward into Palm Beach County. And look for some of this bad weather across Martin County and St. Lucie County. Unfortunately this is the area we're watching possibly for tornadoes.

It looks like right now we just have a strong thunderstorm area. But the thunderstorm warning just got expired when that box disappears. So what we're looking at right now is still the chance of heavy downpours of rain certainly, frequent lightning strikes, and also strong winds.

We're looking at a live picture of Tampa, Florida, where it's overcast and we've had some heavy rains sliding across areas into Tampa right now. Take a look at this radar picture and you can see the rain sliding into Tampa. Some frequent lightning strikes offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's all part of a larger system that's bringing in heavy moisture across much of Florida all the way from the north in Orlando further to the south. So we'll be looking at that rain on and off. If you're traveling today on I-95, the rain is going to get worse, especially in the West Palm Beach area.

All of these thunderstorms are moving to the northeast slowly at about seven miles per hour. Now there still is a flood threat, that's just for Polk County right in the center of Florida until 7:00 tonight because we've seen such heavy rain with this system.

Finally, we're also watching some flooding that continues into the Mississippi. I'll have more on that plus a look at travel. Don, it's a busy Sunday and we have a lot of flight delays to tell you about.

LEMON: Yes. It certainly is. Hey, Bonnie, don't go anywhere, do we have that picture of the -- can we get those clouds back? You know you're in trouble -- or possible trouble when you see clouds like that, Bonnie.

SCHNEIDER: You're right, Don. And what I thought was interesting is that before we went to the commercial break, we showed that same shot. And within about five minutes the clouds got so much darker as they become a little bit more heavy with rain.

LEMON: Bonnie Schneider, in the Severe Weather Center on top of it for us. Bonnie, we're going to check back with you. Thank you very much for that.

Let's talk now about the price of gasoline. It has hit a painful new high again. The Lundberg Survey reports the national average for a gallon of self-serve regular jumped 5 cents, that's over the past two weeks, to $3.32. Ouch, that is an all-new all-time high. Well, the previous record high of $3.26 was set two weeks ago. The survey blames the soaring cost on higher crude oil and ethanol prices. Lundberg also predicts prices are going to keep climbing even higher.

Well, soaring jet fuel prices played a role in the collapse of an Ohio-based Skybus Airlines. The no-frills carrier plans to file for bankruptcy in the next few days. It only survived for 10 months but that was long enough to pick up a $57 million -- $57 million, in government incentives, 350 people will lose their jobs there.

The former Skybus workers will have company on the unemployment line and probably a lot of it, U.S. employers slashed, get this, 80,000 jobs last year -- 80,000 jobs last month, I should say. Wow. That's the third straight month of job losses. The unemployment rate rose three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.1 percent. That's the highest rate since September of 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina.

Keep watching CNN. Our money team has you covered on jobs, debt, housing, housing, savings. In other words, we've got your wallet. We're watching it for you. Join us for a special report, it's called "ISSUE #1: The Economy," all this week at noon Eastern, only here on CNN. That's just before the CNN NEWSROOM at 1:00 p.m. Had to get that one in there.

The high cost of campaigning. Find out which presidential hopeful is rolling in the dough on the campaign trail.

And searching for a killer. A mother's plea for help following the murder of her Marine daughter.

And honoring a legend...


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": It's funny being a legend, isn't it? Kind of weird to be a legend while you're alive?

HESTON: A legend in my own lifetime.



KING: What's left -- there's nothing left for you to win. No accolades left to be accorded.


HESTON: ... get it absolutely right one time. That's my goal.

KING: Still haven't?

HESTON: Still haven't, nope.


LEMON: We're going to hear from Larry King and talk to Mickey Rooney about the death of Charlton Heston. Stay in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: All right. Well, here's a title for you, how to reach Pennsylvania voters in just 16 days when a handful of other Democratic primaries are less than a month away. It is the latest chapter from the campaign trail as Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama set their sights on the Pennsylvania Primary on April 22nd, along with more contests in May. Just how are they going about doing that? By appearing at the same dinner. Let's bring in our Jim Acosta for more.

Jim, I looked up on television. You were on there this morning, this afternoon, all night. You're burning the midnight oil.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Almost the midnight oil, it's almost, Don. That's right. We are in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Primary, as you mentioned, is about 16 days away on April 22nd. But with all of that time between now and then, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and John McCain decided to spend the weekend campaigning out West.

And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the headliners at the State Democratic Party dinner in Butte, Montana, last night. The Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner, which, if you were interested in tickets, Don, they were $40 a pop. It's the kind of dinner where there are more bolos being worn by the guys there than the ties. But Barack Obama took that opportunity to talk about the fact that he has done pretty well in these smaller states, especially out in the West. And he expects to have the same result coming up on June the 3rd, when Montana holds its primary.

But Hillary Clinton says hold on. Despite the fact that she is behind and trailing Barack Obama, she plans, she says, to fight this nomination contest all the way to Montana.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The last, best place is going to help choose the next president of the United States.


CLINTON: And, oh, it will not be a moment too soon.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There have been people who have been saying, well, Obama is winning all these small caucus states, these small little Western states. I don't know about you, but I think they're pretty important.


ACOSTA: Now, as for Obama and Clinton, they will be spending the early part of this week heading back to Capitol Hill. Yes, they are United States senators. And General David Petraeus, the general in charge of the campaign in Iraq -- the war campaign in Iraq, we should say, he is planning to testify on Capitol Hill. He will be speaking before the committees that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both sit on. And then following that appearance up on Capitol Hill, we expect to see Obama and Clinton back on the campaign trail here in the Keystone State -- Don.

LEMON: OK. And, you know, Ali wears a cowboy hat. Where's your bolo?

ACOSTA: Hey, they send me to Philly, I dress for Philly. If they want to send me out to Montana, I will saddle up, Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much for that report. We'll be seeing a little bit later on, I'm sure, again. Thank you, sir.

Barack Obama, raking in the cash on the campaign trail. We've been crunching the numbers for you. And this is last month's numbers, he's raising about twice as much money right now as the Clinton campaign, $40 million to $20 million, a two to one margin.

The one who seems to be cash poor right now, well, is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and that is John McCain. He hasn't released his March numbers yet. But take a look at this, since January, Obama has raised $131 million; Clinton, $70 million; McCain, $23 million in January and February combined. But the real story only starts with those numbers. Who is donating is one angle, what the candidates are spending that money on is another angle. And what they aren't spending it on is yet another angle. So why don't we bring in Beth Frerking, a senior editor Politico and And she joins us from Washington.

Obama is attracting a lot of first-time donors online. What is his winning strategy there?

BETH FRERKING, POLTICO.COM: Well, he's going to the Internet and that's where he's getting those donors. He got $442,000 contributors in March alone and half of those were first-time contributors. You know, what's significant about that is that he can go back that well and the average donation was $96.

We're not talking about $2,000-a-plate contributors here.

LEMON: Lots of people with small sums of money seems to be what's sustaining.

FRERKING: That's right.

LEMON: Hey, Beth, I want to turn to you now and talk about the article about Armstrong Williams, you know what I'm talking about, right? The one about -- the Politico wrote about the money that Hillary Clinton -- obviously she's in trouble. She has not been paying some of her bills. Some of them were for small vendors.


LEMON: But there were some large amounts in there as well, $771,000, $2.5 million from a direct mail campaign, $807,000. That's a lot of money. What's going on with her campaign?

FRERKING: Well, they are trying to save money so they can spend on it advertising which is extremely important as you know. And they are saying that this is, you know, common practice among presidential campaigns. But the fact is is that it is not a good sign when you can't pay your bills.

LEMON: This amount -- common practice, this amount of money? Common among campaigns?

FRERKING: Well, that's what they say. They say, you know, we're going to pay and these things take a while to get paid, you know, we will pay the bills. I think it's just one more sign of the, you know, problems that they're having in terms of fundraising. They're not able to spend that money and pay those debts.

LEMON: Have you seen this in any other campaign? Even John McCain's campaign, because he had trouble very early on, people are surprised that he's the presumptive nominee now because they thought he was almost out. Did he rake in or rack up these kinds of bills and debt?

FRERKING: Well, he certainly had problems back in the summer which was one of the reasons that he got out of the race. He clearly didn't think that was, you know, showing how strong he could be.

LEMON: But not this much. Didn't have this much.


LEMON: And also, it's very interesting and it may be usual for this, I was reading part of it where $292,000 in employee health insurance premiums were unpaid. They weren't in danger of losing their benefits, but was this just to hold the money over, especially, you know, Hillary Clinton is -- health care is her issue?

FRERKING: Right. Well, again, they explained that as, you know, this was just a processing issue and that we were going to be paying those bills. Those people were never in danger.

As you just said, you know, what was so significant about that was that that's her big issue that she has talked about. So it just didn't look good.

LEMON: Yes, didn't look good.


LEMON: And maybe it's not that unusual or out of the ordinary. But it just didn't look good (INAUDIBLE). Thank you very much, Beth Frerking, we appreciate you joining us.

FRERKING: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Meeting for the last time as president. President Bush wraps up his visit with Russian President Putin with a symbolic end to the Cold War.

Plus, a tragic story back home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My concern is I want women to be better protected.


LEMON: A Marine is murdered. Now her mom is speaking out.

And he made an epic mark on Hollywood. Now, we're remembering Charlton Heston. We'll talk to his good friend, Mickey Rooney, and also our Larry King, live here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, Charlton Heston will be remembered for so many things. We got word today the actor passed away this weekend at his home in Beverly Hills. His wife of 64 years by his bedside. Heston's work on screen was incredible. There's really no other actor left quite like him, but we came to know him for his off-screen pursuits as well. Another attribute that made him, well, simply one of a kind. Tonight, we're honored to have the legend himself, Mr. Mickey Rooney. He joins us, along with another legend, our own Larry King.

Larry, do you remember the sound bite? Take a listen real quick.


KING: We're back with Charlton Heston. It's funny being a legend, isn't it? Kind of weird to be a legend while you're alive?

HESTON: A legend in my own lifetime.



KING: What's left -- there's nothing left for you to win. No accolades left to be accorded.


HESTON: ... get it absolutely right one time. That's my goal.

KING: Still haven't?

HESTON: Still haven't, nope.


LEMON: April, Larry, of 1996, you remember that?

KING: Sure.

LEMON: He also won the Medal of Freedom, he was talking about all the accolades he got, but he had never got it right, he said.

KING: Yes, I interviewed him by TV about five times, radio about five times. I spent a lot of time with him also, had lunch with him a lot when he'd come to Washington.

He was an enigma. He was a man, a great actor. His contributions are incredible. He was a strong liberal. He marched at Selma. He was a major supporter of Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. And then suddenly sort of late in life, he got into this National Rifle Association thing.

It hurt him a lot with his liberal friends in Beverly Hills and he knew that.

LEMON: And it's interesting that you say he's a liberal when you think about that, the NRA. It's not necessarily perceived as being a liberal organization.

KING: No, no, no. He knew that he had taken a different turn with that. But he saw it as the Second Amendment. He didn't waver from that. By the way, he was a great actor. I'm sure Mickey will tell you. He did movies like "Touch of Evil" with Orson Wells. "Planet of the Apes." He did a great movie with Edward G. Robinson years ago called "Soylent Green." He was historic. He did historic movies.

He directed "The Caine Mutiny" in China. He had an interpreter with him and he directed the play "The Caine Mutiny" in China. He took chances, took risks. And he was an easy, extraordinary guy to know.

LEMON: Mr. Rooney, I was looking at your face on the monitor here when I was reading and you saw the pictures of him coming up and you were smiling as I was reading that. Why is that?

MICKEY ROONEY, ACTOR: Because, well, I'm very honored to have been asked to speak about my friend Charlton Heston. And I'm happy that we've had a chance to see all the great work that he has done and left for us. He hasn't left anything but memories of greatness.

And "Soylent Green," "Agony and the Ecstasy," presidents, Andrew Jackson, he played them twice.

KING: Yes.

ROONEY: He never, never stopped, 100 pictures.

LEMON: How are you doing today, Mr. Rooney?

ROONEY: Well, I'm fine. My wife Jan and I are doing our show "Let's Put on a Show." He was married to Lydia, his beautiful wife, in Greensboro, North Carolina. We just returned from there where we put on our show "Let's Put on a Show," Jan Rooney and myself. And we would do it all over.

KING: Don, he started in live television. He did "Playhouse 90." He did a lot of those historic shows in the '50s. He had a lot of guts.

LEMON: And, Larry and Mr. Rooney, we're talking about his friends here. Obviously Mr. Rooney, you were a good friend of his. And I have to call you Mr. Rooney because I -- you know, watch you all the time and I respect you and you know, you're a legend.

But let's talk about Nancy Reagan. She responded today. A good friend of Mr. Heston's. She said, I was heartbroken to hear of the death of Charlton Heston last night. "He was one of Ronnie and my dearest friends. I will never forget Chuck as a hero on the big screen, in the roles he played. But, more importantly, I considered him a hero in life for the many times that he stepped up to support Ronnie."

Mr. Rooney, what do you have to say to that?

ROONEY: I was going to -- well, there's so much to say about Charlton Heston and his lovely wife, Lydia. We get a Christmas card every year from the Hestons which we treasure, and he never forgets and neither does Lydia.

LEMON: Is there one moment you'll remember about him most?

ROONEY: I beg your pardon?

LEMON: Is there one moment or one thing that you'll remember about him most?

ROONEY: Yes, I remember that he was in the Army, and he left and served his country. And he did so many wonderful things that we'll all be able to laugh and smile about, "Agony and the Ecstasy," "Cleopatra." How about "The Greatest Story Ever Told"?

LEMON: "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Hey, Larry, got to ask you, real quickly here, you interviewed him a number of times. He was such a big brawny guy and had a very strong personality.

ROONEY: Six foot-three.

LEMON: Six foot-three. A handsome guy. Were you ever intimidated by him?

KING: Oh no, no. He never let that happen. He made it too easy to be around him. He was a great interview subject. He gave you what you wanted. He responded. He had passion. What you want in an interview is what he gave you. And that was when he was either railing on the National Rifle Association or discussing his films or supporting a presidential candidate. There was no one like him.

LEMON: CNN's Larry King and, of course, Mr. Mickey Rooney. Thank you both for joining us.

KING: Thank you, guys. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Sorry for your loss.

ROONEY: Thank you very much. And a great American, let's never forget Charlton Heston. Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, sir.

We'll move on now and talk about something else here. Sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly, a relationship that has lasted for seven years, now President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are saying their good-byes. The two met for the last time as the presidents of their country.

CNN White House correspondent Elaine Quijano is in Russia to mark the occasion.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At their final appearance together as presidents...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a little bit nostalgic.

QUIJANO: ... President Bush and outgoing Russian president, Vladimir Putin, tried to put the best face on their stark differences.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In Sochi, we have adopted a declaration on strategic framework. Of course, it does not provide any breakthrough solutions on a number of issues.

QUIJANO: But it was after their first meeting in 2001 the president had high hopes that he could do business with Putin.

BUSH: I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.

QUIJANO: Yet seven years later, that trust has not led to resolutions on the issues that have divided them, NATO expansion and missile defense.

PUTIN (through translator): This is about the substance of the issue. I would like to make it very clear on this, our fundamental attitude to the American plans have not changed.

QUIJANO: Putin remains firmly opposed to U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, seeing it as a threat to Russia's security.

BUSH: This is an area that we've got more work to do to convince the Russian side that the system is not aimed at Russia.

QUIJANO (on camera): With nine months left in office, President Bush is looking ahead, trying to set the tone for the future of U.S.- Russia relations, with Putin expected to step down in may and become prime minister.

BUSH: Thank you for meeting with me and my delegation.

QUIJANO (voice-over): President Bush met with Putin's chosen successor, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, calling him a smart fellow.

BUSH: I was impressed and looking forward to working with him.

QUIJANO: Once inaugurated, Medvedev will be in charge of foreign policy. Putin said he would be handling domestic issues as prime minister. In this last meeting as Bush and Putin remained far apart on policy, the White House released photos of the two leaders strolling in the sunset of their presidencies.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, traveling with the president in Sochi, Russia.


LEMON: All right, we have breaking news into the CNN NEWSROOM. We're talking about Hillary Clinton and the ups and downs of her campaign. Well, Mark Penn has been asked to give up his role as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign. That's breaking news into CNN just coming across now. Actually, it was e-mailed out to CNN. And it's on her Web site, and we're going to read it right from the Web site.

It's a statement from Maggie Williams: "After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign. Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates Inc. will to provide polling and advice to the Clinton campaign. Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will coordinate the campaign's strategic message team going forward."

So the events of the last couple of days, Mark Penn has asked -- according to this statement that we have, he asked to give up his role, he wasn't asked to step down. But this, of course, the last couple of days we are talking about the NAFTRA and the meeting and all of the things that I don't want to go into, because I am not a political expert. We're going to get our political people on top of this to figure out exactly what's going on, if he was asked to step down or if he as a matter of fact did it himself, wanted to step down himself.

But breaking newspapers just coming across now, Mark Penn leaving the Clinton campaign, no longer chief strategist. We're going to get more information on this, more news on this right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.

In the meantime, it has been almost three months since the body of Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, and her unborn child were pulled from a fire pit in a fellow Marine's backyard. Corporal Cesar Laurean is accused in both deaths and is still -- he is still on the run. Now for the first time since her daughter's death, Mary Lauterbach is sharing with CNN images of Maria that have never been seen publicly. She spoke exclusively and candidly with our CNN's Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is a mother in pain, Mary Lauterbach visits the graves of her murdered pregnant daughter Maria and unborn grandson Gabriel Joseph.

MARY LAUTERBACH, MOTHER OF MARIA LAUTERBACH: Preparing for Easter was very hard, because Maria loved holidays.

CANDIOTTI: Just a few years ago, her daughter was playing high school soccer and dreaming about a bright future. This is the first video of Maria made public.

MARIA LAUTERBACH, MURDER VICTIM: For after high school, I am going into the Marines. So, I'll probably be doing that for about 20, 25 years and then hopefully after that becoming a cop.

CANDIOTTI: Two months after Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach was found murdered, her body pulled from a fire pit in a fellow Marine's backyard, her mother is on a mission. MARY LAUTERBACH: My concern is I want women to be better protected.

CANDIOTTI: Last April, 20-year-old Maria was working the night shift in an office at Camp Lejeune with fellow Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean when she claimed he locked the doors and attacked her. A month later Maria called her mom.

MARY LAUTERBACH: And said, you know, mom, I've been raped. Maria, you have to report this, because you have to protect all the other Marine women, to make sure that doesn't happen to anyone else. She says, OK, mom. So, the next day she went in and reported it.

CANDIOTTI: Corporal Laurean denied rape. Maria Lauterbach became pregnant.

MARY LAUTERBACH: If there are perceived credibility issues, we still must protect the person who is making those claims. You have to protect them. The problem is when someone has a perceived credibility issue, they make themselves the perfect victim.

CANDIOTTI: While waiting for investigators to finish, Lauterbach reported being punched on base by an unknown attacker and having her car keyed. Then last December, about a month before Lauterbach's due date, and a rape hearing on base, she disappeared. Her roommate found a note.

(on camera): So the note said: "I could not take this Marine life anymore, so I'm going away. Sorry for the inconvenience. Maria."

Does that sound like your daughter?

MARY LAUTERBACH: It shocked me, no. And she never gave me any indication that she was leaving.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): A month later, Maria's body was dug up. Investigators say Laurean told his wife he had buried Maria under his barbecue pit after she slit her throat. He ran.

The ME says Maria was killed by a blow to the head.

REP. MIKE TURNER (r), OHIO: Now this is a matter that deserves higher scrutiny.

CANDIOTTI: Lauterbach's hometown Congressman Mike Turner wants answers from the Marine Corps, including why Laurean didn't submit DNA during the investigation. The Marine Corps defends its action as appropriate and is expected to reply to the congressman soon.

(on camera): What worries about other women who might be raped who are in the armed services and whether they will come forward after they look at this particular case?

TURNER: They're going to be very concerned about their own safety and they are going to wonder whether or not, like Maria, if they will feel as if they are alone in coming forward with the accusation. That fear has really got to have a chilling effect.

CANDIOTTI: Authorities are still waiting for the results for the paternity test to confirm whether Cesar Laurean is the father of Maria Lauterbach's unborn baby. Charged with murder, Laurean remains on the run, believed to be hiding in Mexico. Will he be caught? Authorities say they hope so, trying their best to cut off his resources.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Dayton, Ohio.


LEMON: Take a good look at this picture. It is the most recent photo of Cesar Laurean. And, again, investigators think he is hiding somewhere in Mexico. Also he may have grown a beard, this beard, and possibly a little tanner, maybe a little bit tanner than he was when he took off a few months ago. Look at that picture. There you go.

The torch relay turns dramatic. Widespread protests as the Olympic torch makes its way through London. Details on the turbulent torch run, next.

And the top U.S. commander in Iraq makes an appearance on the Hill this week. What kind of reception will he get in light of the recent upsurge in fighting? You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


LEMON: More now on our breaking news into the CNN NEWSROOM. The senior strategist for the Clinton campaign, well, no longer. Mark Penn has been asked to leave or either he asked to leave and I want to get some clarification on that from our Candy Crowley.

Candy, you've been traveling with the candidates. You know a lot about this Mark Penn. Is all of this over the meeting with the Colombian officials last week that he had to apologize for?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, that was the tip-over that got him to leave. Look, this was a bad idea, this meeting. He met with Colombian officials about a free- trade agreement that his consulting firm is pushing, but his candidate is against. Any way you -- he said, well, he went, you know, in his role as a chief executive in the lobbying firm, but any way you look at this, this was a bad deal, this does not reflect well on the campaign. It was too cozy, you know, that kind of thing.


CROWLEY: Though, I will tell you that there have been claims about Mark Penn along the way. He was the strategist that early on developed the strategy for Hillary Clinton and there were some who think he went the wrong way on his early-on strategy, but obviously the candidate didn't feel that way because she has been with him through Iowa, all the way up to this Pennsylvania race.

LEMON: So inside the campaign, Candy, there may have been senior staffers -- or staffers at least who didn't want him there or wanted him to step down.


LEMON: And she apparently did not because she kept him this long.

CROWLEY: Well, I mean, there's also in a campaign, as you know, the campaign chairman, or the campaign director left earlier, Maggie Williams, a close friend of Hillary Clinton's, came in to run the campaign. So, there have been some changes. Basically Penn had been blamed -- by some people in the campaign, certainly not all of them, had been blamed for an early-on strategy that positioned Hillary Clinton as the incumbent, you know, the front-runner.

LEMON: Right.

CROWLEY: And she came into the campaign, OK, with this inevitability. But what took hold? Change. And they really believe that by the time Clinton moved to the change message, that by that time, Obama had pretty much cornered the market. So, he got for some blame to that particularly after Iowa, which she lost pretty handily.

LEMON: So, Candy, I've got to ask you, this is a very critical point in the campaign, you know, you've got Pennsylvania, which she is banking on, and what is this going to mean for her to have an upset like this at this point?

CROWLEY: Well, I think probably not much. Their strategy for Pennsylvania is pretty set. Maggie Williams has pretty firm control over that campaign. It's just something you don't want to have happen. You don't want that sort of campaign chaos or, you know, somebody did something wrong, because it kind of eats up the headlines. So it hurts in that respect.

But this campaign has a lot of advisers, trust me, so going forward, they ought to be all right. And as we know, Penn's firm is going to continue polling and offering advice.

LEMON: OK, our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. Candy, thank you very much for helping us out with that story.

We're going to be back in a moment with an update on the weather. We had a tornado warning earlier in South Florida. We'll check to see if that is still happening now, and what else is happening in South Florida with the weather. CNN NEWSROOM continues.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... plenty hot now, is it? Oh! Someone -- as I speak, someone has tried to grab it...


LEMON: Wow, that was earlier in London during a torch relay. Demonstrators were there protesting against China's human rights record and its actions in Tibet. This was all after the Olympic torch was making its rounds ahead of the Beijing games there. One demonstrator tried to snuff out the flame with a fire extinguisher, others in the crowd threw themselves at torchbearers. Officials eventually switched up the route to avoid any further conflict in that. Wow, amazing.

Well, there's talk of a tornado threat for parts of Florida. We want to head over to Bonnie Schneider in the Severe Weather Center to see what's going on there -- Bonnie.

SCHNEIDER: Well, it looks like the tornado warning, it got canceled actually just shortly before it was about to expire. Then we had a severe thunderstorm warning that was cancelled. But check this out, a new one in effect until another 20 minutes, 7:15 p.m. This severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for the same area, central Broward County, then northward into Palm Beach County.

So the thunderstorms are on the move. You can see them moving out to the northeast at about 20 miles per hour. These storms have a history of producing strong gusts of wind and penny-size hail. So if you are in the Boca area, Coral Springs, I'd say take cover because these storms may clip you a little bit as they move to the northeast.

You can see some of that rain now sliding into Palm Beach County. The next stop will be is Martin County and in the area of Port St. Lucie. This is a larger-scale storm that is coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. So isolated showers, thunderstorms and frequent lightning strikes not out of the question throughout much of the evening.

We'll see that across Tampa and Orlando as well as the rest of the state of Florida. So the flood threat expires at about 7:15 tonight. We're still looking at some wintry weather in areas of the northern Midwest and overcast skies that will cause flight delays throughout much of the evening in the New York area -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Bonnie Schneider on top of it. And, Bonnie, you're going to be back with us tonight at 10:00, I certainly hope.

SCHNEIDER: Definitely, as you can see, likely.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much for that. I'm Don Lemon, thanks for joining me in the CNN NEWSROOM. We're back here at 10:00 with more analysis and perspective on our big breaking news story here in the CNN NEWSROOM, Mark Penn, senior strategist for Hillary Clinton stepping down. We'll provide some analysis for you.